Philippines records 261 new COVID-19 cases; 12 labs fail to submit data

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 22 2021 04:01 PM | Updated as of Dec 23 2021 02:23 PM

Vendors crowd Redemptorist road beside the Baclaran Church in Parañaque City on December 15, 2021. People continue to flock to public places and market stalls for their Christmas shopping as Christmas day nears. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Vendors crowd Redemptorist road beside the Baclaran Church in Parañaque City on December 15, 2021. People continue to flock to public places and market stalls for their Christmas shopping as Christmas day nears. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of Health on Wednesday announced 261 new COVID-19 cases, the 5th straight day the daily tally remained below 500, as 12 laboratories failed to submit data.

Of the fresh cases, 247 occurred within the recent 14 days. Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon topped regions that had the most additional infections, according to the DOH.

Two laboratories were non-operational on Monday, while 12 others were unable to submit their data, it said. These 14 laboratories contribute on average 2.8 percent of samples tested and 2.3 percent of positive cases, it added. The agency did not give further information.

A total of 2,837,784 cases have been confirmed since the coronavirus reached the Philippines last year, of which 9,238 or 0.3 percent remain active infections, based on the latest case bulletin.

The number of active cases is the lowest since May 18, 2020, according to Edson Guido, head of the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team.

COVID-related deaths increased by 122 to 50,916. Of the new deaths, the DOH said 15 occurred this month, 17 last month, 39 in October, 27 in September, 10 in August, five in July, two in June, one in May, and two in April. The rest are from last year: one in August, two in July, and one in April.

"This issue is currently being coordinated with the Epidemiology and Surveillance Units to ensure information is up to date," the DOH said of the late reporting of deaths.

There were also 395 more recoveries, raising the total number of recuperations to 2,777,630. 

Four duplicates, classified as recoveries, were removed from the total case count, while 113 cases previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation, the DOH said.

It added that 192 cases were found to have tested negative and have been removed from the total case count. Of these, 189 are recoveries, according to DOH.

The positivity rate was at 0.9 percent, based on test results of samples from 29,577 individuals on Monday. The positivity rate stood below 1 percent for the fifth straight day, Guido said.

The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was at 21 percent and 20 percent, respectively. 

Watch more News on iWantTFC

The case bulletin showed that of the active cases, 377 are in critical condition while 1,801 are severe.

Some 19 million individuals in the country may start getting their COVID-19 booster shot after the Food and Drug Administration shortened its interval from the primary series of vaccination.

The country has around 150 million vaccine doses, which is enough for the administration of boosters, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.